[ExI] Zombie glutamate

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Mon Feb 16 23:07:40 UTC 2015

On Mon, Feb 16, 2015 Stathis Papaioannou <stathisp at gmail.com>

> At this point, the only assumption is that it [consciousness] is due to
> some physical processes in the brain as opposed to, for example, an
> immaterial soul.

But I repeat, WHICH physical process? If you can't PROVE which physical
process produces consciousness and you've changed or eliminated at least
one physical process (and if you haven't then you haven't changed the
substrate) then you can't PROVE that consciousness has been preserved.

> Essentially as you said above - if it were possible to separate
> consciousness from behaviour

That's a big "if" but OK.

> > it should be possible to make a visual cortex which functions normally
> and put it in your brain.


> > You would then lack visual perception - which is the definition of
> blindness


 > but you would behave normally

No, you wouldn't behave normally. If I threw a ball at you you'd be unable
to catch it, the artificial visual cortex might be able to track the ball
but that's only a small part of the brain, other parts, the conscious
parts, decide that if would be fun to catch the ball the ball and then send
nerve impulses to the muscles in your arm to actually do so. But you
wouldn't decide to catch the ball because you are blind and didn't even
know that a ball had been thrown.

>  > because the replacement part reproduces all the inputs and outputs of
> the original in its interface with the remaining brain tissue.

That sounds like you've replaced the entire brain not just the visual
cortex, and I don't see a reductio ad absurdum in any of this.

 > we can imagine a visual cortex as above, functioning perfectly but
> lacking consciousness.

Sure, my visual cortex works pretty well but I don't think it by itself is
conscious, and I think blind people with a malfunction visual cortex are
just as conscious as I am, although I can't prove it.

> Consider the special case where most of your brain is intact, so that you
> can walk, talk, reason, experience emotions and so on in the normal
> conscious way. The only part that is altered is the visual cortex, replaced
> with a part manufactured by super-advanced aliens using exotic technologies
> which interfaces perfectly with the rest of your brain. The problem is,
> these aliens have no idea if you are conscious and no interest in
> preserving your consciousness; they are scientists and engineers only
> concerned with the observable functionality of your visual cortex. What
> would happen?

In that case I would certainly behave as I always did, and I very very
strongly suspect my consciousness would be unaffected too, although I can't
prove it.

 John K Clark
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/extropy-chat/attachments/20150216/2bb3e778/attachment.html>

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list